In its first ceremony in a new setting, Chicago's preeminent restaurant and bar awards celebrated some of the city's hottest restaurants on Sunday evening. Fat Rice, chef Chris Pandel (Swift & Sons, Balena, The Bristol) and The Blanchard were the big winners at the 2016 edition of the Jean Banchet Awards, which for the first time had its own dedicated event in a new setting on South Michigan Avenue to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Logan Square Macanese powerhouse Fat Rice took home the top award of the evening (Restaurant of the Year) while Pandel was the recipient of the top individual award (Chef of the Year). The Blanchard, the oh-so-hot French restaurant in Lincoln Park, was graced with the Best New Restaurant Award. Other winners included Jacyara De Oliveira, who's leaving Sportsman's Club and Chicago, as well as Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Cherry Circle Room, and Carrie Nahabedian's Lifetime Achievement Award. Check out the full list of winners below.
Grace's Michael Muser hosted the event and had jokes for days, keeping the industry-driven crowd relaxed in the second-floor theater inside Venue SIX10 at 610 S. Michigan Ave. The Grand Chef's Gala, which was combined with a Banchet awards ceremony in the past, will take place on Jan. 29 at Navy Pier and be hosted by Jeff Mauro.
Restaurant of the Year: El Ideas, Fat Rice, Intro, Parachute. WINNER: Fat Rice
Chef of the Year: Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice; Phillip Foss, El Ideas; Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia; Chris Pandel, B. Hospitality. WINNER: Chris Pandel
Best New Restaurant: Boeufhaus; The Blanchard; Bom Bolla; Momotaro. WINNER: The Blanchard
Rising Chef of the Year: Ashlee Aubin, Salero; Beverly Kim & Johnny Clark, Parachute; Thomas Rice & Kurt Guzowski, TÊTE Charcuterie; Jason Vaughan, Pub Royale. WINNER: Beverly Kim & Johnny Clark, Parachute
Pastry Chef of the Year: Lisa Bonjour, MK; Meg Galus, Boka; Sandra Holl, Floriole; Chris Teixeira, West Town Bakery. WINNER: Sandra Holl, Floriole
Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Dennis Bernard, Dove's Luncheonette; David Fingerman, Graham Elliot Bistro; Ed Sura, Perennial Virant; Tony Quartaro, Formento's. WINNER: Tony Quartaro, Formento's
Best Neighborhood Restaurant: mfk.; Osteria Langhe; The Radler; Three Aces. WINNER: Mfk
Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Angela Diaz, Owen and Engine; Marjorie Easley, The Blanchard; Aya Fukai, Sixteen; Kelly Helgesen, Lula Café. WINNER: Kelly Helgesen, Lula Cafe
Best Sommelier: Nathan Adams, BoeufHaus; Jill Gubesch, Topolobampo/Frontera Grill; Elizabeth Mendez, Vera; Steve Morgan, Formento's. WINNER: Elizabeth Mendez, Vera
Best Mixologist: Jacyara De Oliveira, Sportsman's Club; Dustin Drankiewicz, The Promontory/Dusek's/Punch House; Jason Lerner, Masa Azul; Liz Pearce, The Drifter. WINNER: Jacyara De Oliveira, Sportsman's Club
Best Restaurant Service: BOKA, Billy Sunday, El Ideas, Formento's. WINNER: Billy Sunday
Best Restaurant Design: 3Arts Club; Cherry Circle Room; Fulton Market Kitchen; Swift & Sons. WINNER: Cherry Circle Room
Best Ethnic Restaurant (New Category): Andy's Thai Kitchen; Furious Spoon; Shokran; Birrieria Zaragoza. WINNER: Birrieria Zaragoza